Old Dogs, New Tricks

old-dogThe old adage would have us believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Friends, I must disagree. I am an old dog at this point in my life and I am having to learn new tricks daily!Β  Things are changing rapidly in all parts of my life. When I think how different things are today than they were just 10 years ago, it is mind-boggling.

paperless officeAt work, we haven’t quite achieved the “paperless” office we were promised in the ’90s, but we are getting there. Things we used to file on paper, we scan and archive. Records we used to print and file, we store electronically. Processes we used to accomplish with printed invoices, paper checks and handwritten debit/credit tickets, we now do with a bit of data entry and the running of a script.

ereaderIn the writing world, the publication and consumption of e-books has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 6 years. In 2008, I never dreamed I would have the knowledge and wherewithal to publish my books electronically. In 2013, I began to do just that. I’m not sure I would have believed I could do that even in 2011! Things change fast, though, and we have to change or get left behind.

technology at homeEven at home, we have more technology than I think our family requires. PCs, laptops, tablet computers, digital music players, streaming video and even smart phones. We are far too connected to everyone on the planet, in my opinion, and yet, I can more or less use all these devices as intended. Sometimes I have to call on my husband for in-house tech support, but we have all become very dependent on our digital devices. Even my coffee maker is programmable, for Pete’s sake!

old-dogs-new-tricksSo yes, I am definitely an old dog. But in order to keep up with our rapidly-changing world, I’ve been required to learn new tricks. Lots of new tricks. Some that I never even wanted to learn! I can still learn them, though. I think we may have to retire that adage soon, at least in regards to people, since we are all going to be learning lots of new tricksΒ forever.

How about you? Have you learned any new tricks lately? Have you surprised yourself by learning something you never thought you would or could? And just for fun, do you know any old dogs who really can’t learn new tricks? I’d love to hear!

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Caren,
    I really want to learn another language and it’s definitely easier these days. You can learn at home with Rosetta Stone, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. I feel I’ve achieved something every time I learn how to use my new cell phone. I don’t personally know any old dogs who can’t learn new tricks, but I do know many that don’t want to learn anything new.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, you made me snort coffee! You are certainly right about the old dogs not wanting to learn anything new. I know lots of people like that!

      The DH is currently using Rosetta Stone and Duolingo to learn German. He much prefers Duolingo, but says Rosetta Stone is better for feedback on pronunciation. He also works with a couple of guys who speak German, so he gets some practice. I need to brush up on my German, too, so I may have to try Duolingo!

      Um…the GR doesn’t speak any language besides chicken. He thinks he knows French, but I say he is wrong. You can tell us what you think of his Frenchicken.

  • Helen says:


    I totally agree with you I have learnt a lot in the past few years about computers and tablets and smart phones and am always learining more about them at work though they just keep throwing more work our way with no extra help to get it done and as for old dogs and not learning that would be my Hubby although it is not always that he can’t it is he doesn’t want to LOL

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, haven’t working conditions just become horrible these days? I think we are all doing what used to be done by 2 or 3 people. While technology has helped us become more productive, it hasn’t helped THAT much! πŸ™‚

      I don’t blame your hubby a bit for refusing to play the game, either, at times. I would happily sit on my hands and just say no! But I do like my smart phone, so maybe that one was worth the time. LOL

  • flchen1 says:

    Seems like there’s always more technology to be mastered! As for learning new tricks, nothing I’ve mastered just yet, but still working on pirouettes and fouette turns in dance πŸ˜‰ Honestly, not sure I’ll EVER master either, but gotta keep on πŸ˜‰

    • Caren Crane says:

      Fedora, I love it that you’re studying ballet! That is amazing to me, when I think about my protesting joints. πŸ™‚ I think it’s wonderful you are putting yourself out there and actively working at it.

      I’m sure one day I’ll learn something that doesn’t require me to sit on my kiester to do it, but I’m not sure what that will be. I tried and really liked sailboarding a few years back, but I’m not sure my arthritic thumbs would do that now!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I just today learned how to move some pictures from my tablet Google photos to my my phone Google photos. The was driving me crazy because I wanted to show my in-laws pictures of my granddaughter. Long story, but since her mother moved her as far from us as she could (Alaska)and she has her listed under a name not her own and has all of us blocked, it is hard to get pictures of her. I recently did some sleuthing and found her AND got recent pictures.
    I didn’t want her mother removing the pictures so I needed to get them a few other places, and I did it!

    My husband is pretty much electronically challenged. I can’t see this changing anytime soon since he has me to do it for him.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, I’m so sorry for the circumstances surrounding your photo nabbing. But hooray to you for getting the pictures! I hope the whole situation gets resolved soon and you have more access to the sweet grandbaby.

      I am very impressed you are able to be tech support for your husband. If it were up to me, we would likely have a landline and dial-up internet. Ack!

  • Shannon says:

    Like you, life is changing all the time, and I’m learning more and more. And it’s not just technology.

    I have a new portfolio at work. Yes, I’m learning the difference between an Mi-17 and a Mi-35. I really miss the political analysis and being able to discourse for an hour or more on a subject, something I got to do for a visitor yesterday.

    Last year, with medical problems, I learned how to fire a doctor that had been slow. Some blood work came back to one doctor who said I needed to see a specialist in three days. I dropped of the blood work to my regular doctor, and called the next day. For some reason, I showed the results to an RN; she got pale and said I probably needed to see someone today. I walked back in (phone call was being put on hold indefinitely). I left 15 minutes later and walked down stairs in the large medical building and handed over the paperwork. The RN said yes I needed to see him but he was working an emergency. They told me to come in early, and he would see me. He was late because of the continuing emergency, but he looked at me and had me doing test, starting the next day. He described the symptoms that I need to watch for and call an ambulance. Do you know that I still feel funny and unreasonable about firing the first doctor.

    I’m also learning how to work with people who have dementia. That includes filing a missing person report.

    I am also learning to ask other people for help. It’s hard to overcome the training of my youth that a person grits their teeth and carries on alone.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shannon, what a hard set of circumstances to learn to deal with ! I greatly admire your work with the new portfolio, though. Very cool to do all of that!

      As for firing the doctor, I understand why you did and the residual guilt. But taking quick action likely saved your life, so… Thank goodness for nurses. I swear, they have saved so many lives through quiet and timely intervention! It’s a shame they have to work covertly at times to help patients get the best care, but I’m so grateful they do!

      Hugs on dealing with the dementia and all its attendant pieces. My poor mother had my grandmother with her for a long time and learned all those hard lessons on dealing with dementia, too. You hear so much about Alzheimer’s, but nothing on dealing with plain old dementia, which is just as devastating for families. Much love to you!

  • Mozette says:

    I’m not that old… so I can’t say I’m not forever learning – because that’s a lie.

    But when we had our dear sweet woofy, Jessie, and she was losing her hearing, I spent a year teaching her sign language when I lost my job.

    At first, she wasn’t into, but then, I waited until everyone went to work and worked on her… it took a year and then, I took her for the final and most important test… the local park on a busy day.

    I let her off the lead and watched her. Then, I called out at the top of my lungs her name! Well, nearly every dog there turned to answer and she turned too… I signed to her to stop -she did. Then, I signed for her to sit – she did. then, I signed for her to stay… and by the lords!… she did! I walked over to her and clipped the lead back on her, fed her a treat and praised her. I was so darned proud!

    Another dog owner came over and told me what I did was irresponsible, but when I told him I had been working on her sign language for year before that day, he frowned… asking what would happen if she didn’t hear her name… I said I can run fast (yeah, plan B wasn’t all that well-thought out – but, well, plan A worked).

    After that, I tried to get Dad to do the sign language for her, but he just didn’t catch on. Then, we had to get her into the car to take her for her final trip to the vets… but she just wouldn’t co-operate. So, I had to use the sign language because Jessie was totally deaf by this time… and then I had to sit with her in the back/boot part of the station wagon because she just couldn’t support herself… poor little thing. πŸ™

    Since then, I haven’t seen anyone teach their dog sign language… but when I walk up to a dog, I automatically give a lesson to the dog and they catch on immediately… πŸ˜€

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Mozette, what a wonderful story! Jessie was certainly lucky to have you and your vast wells of patience. I’m sure her end of life was far better for having you there to work with her and care for her. And aren’t dogs just amazing? They really seem to be mind-readers at times. Such huge empathizers!

  • Caren, love your posts! You have such a wonderfully quirky view of life and a way of expressing it that always make me smile. Anyway, enough of buttering you up, my friend! I have a new trick in my future. I’ve never learned how to text but once I sell the house, I’m updating a stack of stuff including getting a laptop (I’m hoping to do some travel when I sell so I’ll need something more than just the local internet cafe – they’re becoming an endangered species anyway!) and a decent phone. And I’ve told myself to bite the bullet and learn how to send people lots of annoying messages! This old dog might turn into a pest! πŸ™‚

  • I have dragged my feet at every new addition of technology to my life. I didn’t get a cell phone until 2008. I still don’t have a smart phone. I am not ready to have a phone that is more savvy than I am!

    It took forever for me to finally get a laptop. It was all desktop for me. Now I have two laptops.

    And I finally got a tablet just before RWA Nationals in Houston. Got my conference roomie who is ten years older than I am to show me how to set it up and operate it!

    I still haven’t bitten the bullet and added satellite internet to my home. Still dial up here. I am certain I will succumb eventually. Something about putting a dish on top of my trailer makes me think I have to buy a pair of daisy dukes, got to Walmart in my pj’s and flip flops, attend NASCAR, and listen to really bad country music.

    I don’t know about learning new tricks, but my old dog, Boudreaux, has decided to unlearn a trick. When I tell all of my dogs to pick up their toys and put them up they all pick up a toy and take it to the bone-shaped toy box. Boudreaux used to do this. Now he picks up the toy, drops it at my feet and wanders off as if to say “You want it in the box. You put it there!”

    • Caren Crane says:

      Louisa, I had to LOL at the picture of you plunking the dish on the trailer, donning the Daisy dukes and trekking off to Wal-Mart in your flip-flops and PJs. Not to mention the vision of you slugging beer while watching a NASCAR race and listening to super-twangy, overproduced, so-called “country” music (just so, as a native Nashvillian, my opinion of today’s “country” music is crystal clear). Too funny! Not sure the dish will have that effect when you eventually succumb. And you will, my friend. You will!

      Boudreaux sounds like a dog with his own distinct ideas about things. He has a great name, a super mom and a bad attitude. All things that make me love him. His refusal to play those silly reindeer games anymore makes me love him even more! I’m sure you just roll your eyes and put his toys away for him, too. You are a sucker dogs with attitude, I’m sure! πŸ˜€

      • Yes, Caren, I know there is a dish in my future. Not just yet.

        And I do adore my Boudreaux. He was 2 years old when he was rescued from the 9th Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and he came to live with me as a “temporary” foster. Yep. EPIC foster fail !

        These days especially he does exactly as he pleases with a very put-upon attitude. This dog sighs in a way that soap opera divas would envy. And he is usually sighing at me. LOL Yes, I end up putting his toys up for him and I do love his attitude!

  • Caren, fun post! I learned how to transfer photos from my desktop to my iPhone. Except I do it so seldom that I must relearn the process each time.

    I know and old dog who will not condescend to learn new tricks. Does that count?

    • Caren Crane says:

      Nancy, I think you and Amy learned the same trick! I still have no idea how to do that…but I’m not sure I’ll ever need to know. Hm…

      I think if you’re dog, like Boudreaux, could learn and/or perform tricks but cannot be bothered to do so, she deserves a special sort of respect. There is nothing funnier to me than when you ask an older dog to do something and they just sigh and sort of roll their eyes at you. Like, “Really? Again? Aren’t we done with all that by now?” Dogs are hilarious to me! πŸ˜€